Response to one of Larry's Bogs / I got kinda PO'd!

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Stablenet
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Post by Stablenet » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:37 pm

Jon Nolan wrote: alex -

we disagree. i think when someone downloads one of my songs for free when i did not intend for it to be free is stealing my song. you do not see it as stealing. i believe it is unethical, and therefore, lacking integrity.

this thread is starting to rent too much free space in my noggin, and so, i bid it adieu.

good luck...
jon
That's fine Jon, but again I will state, for the record, I have never said that it is, or isn't stealing. I have said, repeatedly, that it's a fact of every day life, we're stuck with it, and need to figure out how to make the best of what we've been handed. I'm happy that many musicians are figuring it out. It's positive.
My experience is that the new models are helping bands.

I've asked you two questions:
-Specifically how has this hurt you? Are you guessing that you've lost $1000 or did you see a drop in sales?
-Now that this is part of modern life, what do we do? How do we deal with it?
I haven't seen an answer yet.

As I've read them, your posts have dealt entirely with morality. That's fine. I see your point, but I'll also add that morality is a subjective thing as the Culture Wars have proven. At the end of the day, all that matters is what do we do now? I doubt it can be stopped, right?
I haven't gotten an answer from you. No problem, you are free to not answer! However, please don't constantly flip into "[I'm] OK with stealing."

It's time for all of us to stop bitching about what's "wrong" and "right" and figure out how bands are going to survive in the new environment. Many are.
After all, the discussion is about getting paid.

No problem if you've bowed out, Jon, but I'm curious about other people's experiences if they would like to share.

Thanks,
Alex Maiolo
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Post by chris harris » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:50 pm

dwlb wrote:
subatomic pieces wrote:You're Hitler. Can we be finished with this 2001 episode of Back To The Future, now?
WTF, was that directed at me?
No, no, no...

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Post by Jay Reynolds » Tue Mar 08, 2011 2:56 pm

subatomic pieces wrote:
dwlb wrote:
subatomic pieces wrote:You're Hitler. Can we be finished with this 2001 episode of Back To The Future, now?
WTF, was that directed at me?
No, no, no...
I mean, say what you want about the tenets of national socialism...
Prog out with your cog out.

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Post by Stablenet » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:06 pm

dick sidechainey wrote:
subatomic pieces wrote:
dwlb wrote:
subatomic pieces wrote:You're Hitler. Can we be finished with this 2001 episode of Back To The Future, now?
WTF, was that directed at me?
No, no, no...
I mean, say what you want about the tenets of national socialism...
...at least the trains were running on time and they weren't downloading music?
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Post by Jay Reynolds » Tue Mar 08, 2011 3:14 pm

Stablenet wrote:
...at least the trains were running on time and they weren't downloading music?
Not quite. But stick around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J41iFYO0NQA
Prog out with your cog out.

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Post by TapeOpLarry » Tue Mar 08, 2011 4:43 pm

Look at the careers that have happened for what would be called "indie" bands like Decemberists and Arcade Fire and such. #1 records on Billboard, tours, many albums sold. And I'm pretty certain this could never have happened without the Internet.

We know people are and will download(ing) unauthorized music on the Internet. We can't stop this. But we can see people use it as a way to get their music out there in a time where major labels, print media and radio has choked the living shit outta real music. Sure, there might be more sales without an internet, and my pals at Kill Rock Stars say they can certainly see a sales drop on their indie records, but they also get instant press on blogs about relatively obscure bands and the music has some channel to be heard on.

I've been reading Greg Kot's "Ripped" book. You all should check it out.
Larry Crane, Editor/Founder Tape Op Magazine
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Post by chris harris » Tue Mar 08, 2011 5:12 pm

I don't think that anyone here, other than maybe Jeff, will argue the whole "major labels suck/the internet has been great for indie bands" point. We ALL agree with that. I just think that those things aren't really relevant to whether or not it's "right" to download records illegally.

Nobody is suggesting that if we can't stop illegal downloading that we should shut down the internet and go back to the old major label selling 8 track tapes model. But, there MUST be a shift in attitudes about music downloading, or all of the great things about the internet will be offset by an inability to generate income from selling music.

Look, these people obviously desire the music. The DEMAND is clearly there. What's missing is a basic level of integrity. Right now, the music business, whether it's major label or indie stuff, is running on something of an honor system. And, PEOPLE are proving that they're perfectly willing to commit a crime, if it means that they'll get something for nothing, and they can rationalize it by pretending that it only hurts rich people, as long as they know that there's not much chance of getting caught.

Labels like KRS understand that having free music available is a great way to promote a band and/or release. That's why they make so many songs available on their websites, or send them out to bloggers. But, this is a PROMOTION. This type of promotion is invaluable to bands without a lot of advertising dollars backing them up. But, it's also COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than having people download your entire catalog in a matter of minutes, illegally, and with disregard for the artists' and labels' wishes.

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Post by JGriffin » Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:50 pm

dick sidechainey wrote:
subatomic pieces wrote:
dwlb wrote:
subatomic pieces wrote:You're Hitler. Can we be finished with this 2001 episode of Back To The Future, now?
WTF, was that directed at me?
No, no, no...
I mean, say what you want about the tenets of national socialism...
8)
"Jeweller, you've failed. Jeweller."

"Lots of people are nostalgic for analog. I suspect they're people who never had to work with it." ? Brian Eno

All the DWLB music is at http://dwlb.bandcamp.com/

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Post by Knights Who Say Neve » Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:42 pm

subatomic pieces wrote:I don't think that anyone here, other than maybe Jeff, will argue the whole "major labels suck/the internet has been great for indie bands" point. We ALL agree with that. I just think that those things aren't really relevant to whether or not it's "right" to download records illegally.

Nobody is suggesting that if we can't stop illegal downloading that we should shut down the internet and go back to the old major label selling 8 track tapes model. But, there MUST be a shift in attitudes about music downloading, or all of the great things about the internet will be offset by an inability to generate income from selling music.

Look, these people obviously desire the music. The DEMAND is clearly there. What's missing is a basic level of integrity. Right now, the music business, whether it's major label or indie stuff, is running on something of an honor system. And, PEOPLE are proving that they're perfectly willing to commit a crime, if it means that they'll get something for nothing, and they can rationalize it by pretending that it only hurts rich people, as long as they know that there's not much chance of getting caught.

Labels like KRS understand that having free music available is a great way to promote a band and/or release. That's why they make so many songs available on their websites, or send them out to bloggers. But, this is a PROMOTION. This type of promotion is invaluable to bands without a lot of advertising dollars backing them up. But, it's also COMPLETELY DIFFERENT than having people download your entire catalog in a matter of minutes, illegally, and with disregard for the artists' and labels' wishes.
So do you have some concrete suggestions for how to shift "attitudes about musical downloading", other than LECTURING people with WORDS that have been CAPITALIZED?
"What you're saying is, unlike all the other writers, if it was really new, you'd know it was new when you heard it, and you'd love it. <b>That's a hell of an assumption</b>". -B. Marsalis

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Post by Stablenet » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:37 am

Exactly Knights.

I still haven't received an answer to my question:
If this really tears at you (Jon, Subatomic, etc), what can/will you do about it?

My choice is to roll with it and help my friends think of new ways to make a living while enjoying the fact that they have more artistic control than ever. I don't claim for that to be right, it's just the best way to move forward at this point, and I regularly see the positive aspects of it.

I mean this will all due respect - complaining does nothing.
What is the solution?


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Post by chris harris » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:14 am

Well, one thing we all can, and SHOULD (you like that?), do about it is speak up every time some fool chimes in with old, tired, IMMATURE attitudes like, "It's ok to download illegally because: It's not technically 'stealing', music costs too much, big labels are mean, nobody besides fleetwood mac ever made any money selling records anyway, etc., etc., etc...."

When the actual problem arises out of belief in ABSOLUTE FALLACIES, part of the solution is to speak a little truth.

It's not the only solution. But, just because lots and lots of people have decided that they're ok with committing a crime that they can rationalize through cognitive dissonance, doesn't make that crime any less wrong, and it doesn't erase the negative impact of that crime. And, just because the internet opens up many great, positive opportunities for bands, doesn't mean that it can't also be used to facilitate an act that hurts bands/artists.

The idea that we should all just "accept it" and move on to discover a new way to earn a living, is some straight up bullshit nonsense being put forth no doubt by people with a hard drive full to the brim with illegally obtained files. Wanna show me some evidence that concert attendance and merch sales have increased since the advent of illegal downloading? Hint: such evidence does not exist.

Sure, illegal downloading will always exist. Sure, we can't stop it completely. And, it's no surprise that when you ask the thieves themselves what to do about it, they all think that we should just ignore it and move on. Of course.

I'm not suggesting that "lecturing people" is the be all, end all answer to this problem. But, sitting back and listening to a criminal try to rationalize their crime with some childish bullshit about how corporations are so mean is obviously not the solution.

All of this brings me back to my original point that so concerned Stablenet that he felt he must respond: If people can commit a crime that will give them something for nothing, and they know that they probably won't get caught, and they can rationalize it because they believe it doesn't hurt anyone, then massive amounts of people will commit the crime.

In that statement, the problem is not the fact that it's a crime. The problem is not that we're not doing more to capture and prosecute these criminals. The problem is that people like you guys are happy to let them go on believing their childish, short-sighted, FALLACIOUS RATIONALIZATIONS for committing the crime in the first place.

I'm not going to stop illegal downloading from happening. That's obvious. But, I'm also not going to sit by and just accept that it's happening and allow these lies and misunderstandings about the industry and the impact of illegal downloading to be thrown around in my presence. I feel like people involved in the industry have an obligation to call out some of this ridiculous bullshit.

The other side of this argument is so full of straw men and red herrings that they would be laughed out of a high school debate. Yes, the internet is great. Yes, we can all use it to find newer and better ways to further our careers. Yes, major labels are evil. Yes, they've been horrible to both artists and consumers. All of these things are facts that are unrelated to any legitimate justification for stealing music.

Just because someone argues against illegal downloading, doesn't mean that they're arguing FOR the old paradigm. It's intellectually dishonest to suggest that it does. And, it's just shoddy, amateurish arguing. Illegal downloading arose from a gap in the market. That gap has now been successfully filled with a plethora of legal, inexpensive alternatives to illegal downloading. Not to mention the very simple alternative of just not buying a product that you feel is overpriced.... But, that's not nearly as fun as getting something for nothing, huh?

People who continue to defend illegal downloading (and stop pretending that's not what you were doing with your diatribe about the evils of major labels), in the face of so many inexpensive, legal, convenient alternatives, are simply defending the free-for-all mentality, that I mentioned waaay back in this thread, and that so offended Stablenet that he was drawn into the discussion.

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Post by chris harris » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:26 am

Stablenet wrote:I still haven't received an answer to my question:
If this really tears at you (Jon, Subatomic, etc), what can/will you do about it?
Well, I can and will continue to point out when the justifications are based on lies or misunderstandings. And I will encourage others who are well informed to do the same thing.

I also run an independent record label that releases music in tangible formats, with art packaging, that seeks to create some value to the product. We also offer very cheap, convenient, and legal downloads. Going out of my way to provide these things, makes it that much more offensive when people decide to steal our music, and then rationalize it with some nonsense about Lars Ulrich and Fleetwood Mac.

My own band has so far given all of our digital downloads away for free. It's great exposure. And, it creates some goodwill between us and our fans. And, we still sell physical copies and other merch. The thing is, this is OUR CHOICE. All of the other bands who you think stand to benefit from illegal downloading have this option available to them as well. But, if they choose not to give their music away for free, you should be an adult and respect their decision. You don't get to decide if making their music available for free on the internet is a good move for THEIR career.
Stablenet wrote:My choice is to roll with it and help my friends think of new ways to make a living while enjoying the fact that they have more artistic control than ever. I don't claim for that to be right, it's just the best way to move forward at this point, and I regularly see the positive aspects of it.

I mean this will all due respect - complaining does nothing.
What is the solution?
I'm sure that when you're defending illegal downloading (and again, it's obvious from your rant about major labels that you're doing exactly that), and trying to soothe your own conscience, that what I'm doing comes off as "complaining". That's not at all what I'm doing. I'm actively trying to improve the situation by helping to educate people to be skeptical of short-sighted rationalizations and red herring distractions.

"Just accept it" or "just roll with it" is the reaction that every criminal in the history of time has hoped for. But, I can't "just accept it" when the arguments for doing so are so poorly constructed and lacking in rationality and logic.

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Post by chris harris » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:32 am

Knights Who Say Neve wrote:So do you have some concrete suggestions for how to shift "attitudes about musical downloading", other than LECTURING people with WORDS that have been CAPITALIZED?
So, is this all you have to contribute? A scathing critique of my posting style?
Aside from words, what other ways do you know to change peoples' attitudes?

I think that when the biggest part of the problem is that people rationalize their acts with lies and misunderstandings, the best thing to do is to speak out against those lies and misunderstandings.

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Post by Stablenet » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:20 am

So, Subatomic, the answer to the question is "call people out" when you find out they obtain music for free?
And that "the Industry should do more?"

I don't think that's going to get anything done. What I'm asking about is how do you propose to change people's mindsets and what are you personally doing about it? I don't think a strategy of trying to reason with them is going to work, but I absolutely support your right to try.

Your claim that the new paradigm isn't benefitting people; that there are no facts to prove this is flat out incorrect however. I'm not saying that some people aren't losing money too, by the way. I think the examples Larry and I have given are irrefutable though. Perhaps record labels, like whaling ships, are becoming irrelevant as we've traditionally known them. I have great memories associated with record labels I love(d), so of course I find this sad. Just as a whaling ship, with a little thought, could probably be repurposed, the smart labels will pull through. However, I think there's plenty of evidence that smart bands are making money, and bands that were all but done (Polvo, etc) have benefitted greatly from the digital era, and are enjoying a new career, new fans, and for the first time ever, making money.
How do you dispute this and how do you dispute that this is a byproduct of the free exchange of music?

Once again, we can yell and scream all day long about how unfair free/"free"/stolen/"stolen" music is, but perhaps the better way of looking at it is definitions and morals have changed, the people rightly or wrongly have spoken, and we need to figure out how to work with that.

The world was supposed to end when the player piano was invented. "Home Taping Is Killing Music" was the cry of the Industry when I was a kid, now apparently we're all going to hell because of this new thing - it's the worst yet!
No, we'll survive this one and what always happens will happen:
The people who adapt will make it, and the people who don't won't.

At 42 I'm nostalgic for the ritual - and let's face it, that's a big part of it - of the album release, buying it, taking it home, and deciding whether I would keep this precious band a secret or tell the world. I'm also nostalgic for pre-Reganomic America, and being the only kid in town to know who SST records were. That time is past though, and as sad as that is, we hang onto it at our peril.

I think the important thing to figure out is how am I going to spend my time, futilely trying to "fix this problem," or staying ahead of it and using it to my advantage. How am I going to live in a world where released music has been devalued as a purchasable product, but the appetite for it is stronger than ever because access to it is now unlimited.

Sincerely,
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Post by TapeOpLarry » Wed Mar 09, 2011 8:30 am

The price of legal music downloads is still usually too high. $10 for a download? This seems inflated to me, especially considering that we get inferior sounding (to CDs or vinyl) versions of the music, and usually no credits or info. When Amazon has a sale and albums are $5 I end up buying stuff I want to check out. When iTunes has a $10 album I can usually find the same record used on Amazon or eBay for less on CD. And sometimes for expediency I will just look for it for "free". And don't start ragging on that, I spend thousands of dollars a year on music purchases.

My old band's music is on iTunes and Amazon and such. The band has been defunct since 1992 but we sell a tiny bit. In the case of iTunes, they take $.10 of each $.99 download. The label we were on takes half of the $.79 left. That means each band member might make $.10 per download. This year we didn't even get a check because we couldn't break $100 total. You'd have to sell a shitload for this to start to matter. And be your own label.

Sure was nice of iTunes to buy and destroy lala.com. There was a place where you could stream a full album once for free. Genius. That could have been a long term help in turning people on to new music and back catalog that they'd never find elsewhere. Imagine if they'd set up a highly intelligent RIYL system. Obviously Apple felt threatened so listeners and small labels lose out.

eMusic was great until recently. I was buying a ton of great music every month, experimenting with things I'd only heard about. But as they added major label work to the selection the prices started to climb higher and higher, to the point that it no longer felt like I was saving money and felt abused by these constant price hikes and the recent price restructure. I used it because there was a ton of cool, interesting music for a decent price. When that ended I left.

I've been working on a rant in my head about media and how deliverers of media can devalue the very thing they want us to desire. Almost every time I attend the movies in my area the sound or picture are screwed up. Digital projectors obviously look like ass, and blown speakers are so common I can almost count on them. If I'm dropping near $20 for 2 of us to see a film, I could just wait and buy it on DVD in 6 months if it's really that good. Or I can wait and watch on Netflix or Amazon for much less. I can't imagine how a family with kids justifies a night at the movies. We don't even ned to talk about overpriced unhealthy popcorn!

Music providers are just as guilty. The average person WAS aware that the providers of music were suing normal people for downloading. They were probably aware that CD prices kept going up ($19 for a CD a few years back. What?). Anyone born 40+ years ago remembers new LPs for $4. I used to buy used LP's for $1-$3 when in High School. That's when I developed an insatiable hunger for more music.

Labels like Dischord would even print "Pay no more than..." on the CDs and still stores would be selling them for more. I remember trying to set a low price for our band's first LP in 1987 and seeing it in stores for $9 when we were getting $2.50. I understand "what the market will bear" but you can break the market's back eventually.

When people do not respect where the music comes from business-wise, then they will do as they are. At this point in time people do not respect it. But they do respect the artists they enjoy. Explain to me how people like Steven Malkmus, Sleater-Kinney, Bright Eyes and more are able to buy homes and live comfortably if this model is so broke.

The shift that we are seeing happening in music is actually the return of a middle class. I know more and more people than ever that can build a cottage industry with their unique music. Sure, you have to keep on you toes, work a lot, tour a lot, nurture fans and all. But It can work if your music is strong enough, you're personable enough, and you get out there enough. I think in the coming years this will get even better, and that in turn recording studios that have had strong friendships with artists like this will (and do) see the benefits. We all have to weather the storm in whatever ways (like dual streams of income in my case) and we also have to realize that it's extremely hard to make a living in the music biz - I didn't full time until I was 33 years old, and I'd been involved since I was 18 or so.

Okay, I'll shut up now
Larry Crane, Editor/Founder Tape Op Magazine
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